Nobody can deny Manhattan's cultural primacy or its historical importance. But before we refloat the sunken city, before we think of spending billions of dollars rebuilding marble lobbies that may last only until the next storm, before we contemplate reconstructing the thousands of homes now disintegrating in the toxic tang of the flood, let's investigate what sort of place Sandy destroyed.
The city's romance is not the reality for most who live there. It's a poor place, with about 20.9 percent of the population living under the poverty line, and it's a brown place, where 55 percent are non-white. In 2011, in a full 123 percent of families living [...]